Time for (another) change

October 2, 2019

In my last post I talked about reading books about people who wanted to find a way to improve their quality of life.  That post perfectly transitions into this one as Paul and I have also been discussing what we want for the next chapter of ours.

When we rented our house here in San Antonio Tlayacapan, it was a kind of hurried decision because our plans to live in Mexico City had fallen through.  We have been pleased with our quiet little house on the lake – we love our neighbors and our landlord but we were feeling itchy to change to a different kind of life. 

All big decisions for us seem to take us all over the place.  This time was no different.  First we thought we might look into moving back to the US.  Any of you who know us would be shocked by this (especially given our politics) but after 12 years in Mexico we were craving all those things that would be easy in the US.  Libraries. Community gardens.  Grocery stores with everything you need all in one place!  Bike paths. Classes at the University nearby.  You get it.

We started exploring places we would consider.  

Bellingham, WA – Where family lives.  (Too cold in the winter, housing too expensive)
California – (Lots of great places but too earthquake prone, fire prone and too expensive)
Santa Fe, NM (Too expensive and also cold in the winter)
El Paso, TX (Love that we’d be around Mexicans still but far from everything except the border)
Tuscon, AZ (a blue dot in a red state, but super hot and dry weather and expensive)

All of the places we were considering we knocked off one by one.  Tucson stayed on our radar the longest because we have friends there who were encouraging us to come for a visit and who really like it there.  But the longer we investigated it the more we realized that moving to a place that is already as hot and dry as Tucson makes no sense as the climate crisis continues to make the earth hotter and hotter. Climate change really did enter into our decision as rising waters, accelerated desertification and more intense storms are a reality now.  We also wanted a place where food grows to reduce the miles our food must travel. 

Money is also an issue, of course.  We are comfortable but not rich and the cost of living is much higher in the US.  Just think about the cost of real estate taxes and house insurance in the US compared to Mexico.  A moderately priced house we looked at online in Tucson had $3,300 in property taxes alone as well as an $80 per month homeowner’s association fee.  Cars cost more. Restaurant food, movies, and everything really costs more.  I bought a large green juice in July at Roebek’s in Bellingham, WA for $8.50 US!  I buy them frequently here in Mexico for between 30 and 50 pesos which is $1.50 to $2.50 US.  

We also realized that we would be really sad to leave Mexico.  So then we went round and round of all the places we know and love in Mexico.  Merida.  San Miguel. Queretaro. Guanajuato.  Mexico City.  Back to Mazatlán.  We went around and around.  Too hot.  Too cold.  Too this and too that.  We also realized that in the year and a half we’ve been here at Lake Chapala we have started to put down roots, and that we like it.  The weather is fantastic.  There are lots of things to do and we’re less than an hour to Guadalajara.  

Pomegranate

So you can probably tell that we’ve decided to stay in the area.  We spent months looking at real estate here and finally decided to buy a house in San Antonio Tlayacapan.  It’s right in town and doesn’t have a view but does have a nice big yard for the dogs and some gardening.  I think we’re going to be really happy there.  We wanted to be back in the midst of the town, with all the fun and noise and wonderful Mexican culture.  We’re looking forward to walking to the plaza at night for a piece of cake or an ice cream.  The veggie truck and junk man will pass by.  Weekend evenings just one door away one direction are folks roasting elotes (corn) and the other direction a couple doors they’re selling roasted peanuts.  

Our peaceful spot on the lake was a great place for us to regroup after all the stress we went through but now we are happy to be a little more urban – as much as you can call the little pueblo of San Antonio urban, that is.  

More later… stay tuned.  If you’d like to get an email telling you when there’s a new post, please look to the sidebar on the right.

Photos in the post are trees in our new backyard – the first is a papaya and the second is a granada (pomegranate.)  There’s also a banana and a huge noche buena (poinsettia) that aren’t pictured.  I have been rooting various plants for our new place, right now I have three pithayas (dragonfruit) and two daturas (a pink and a yellow).  

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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

28 Comments
    1. I’ve been wondering where things would move to at the anniversary. I SO understand your thinking about things you miss, sometimes i can feel those things as though I could touch them, so big are they to me. Well done for finding what you think is the best balance. Thanks for keeping us in touch with this exciting development.

      1. Hi Wendy, We have been all over the place deciding, that’s for sure. We still miss Maz like crazy but absolutely adore the climate here… aaaugh! I love seeing how your project is moving along now that you got all your permits… congratulations! xoxo

    1. Love hearing how you worked through your ideas. Change is exciting, and makes you do the mental clearing out as part of the process. As long as you stay in touch, we are happy to have you making changes!

    1. Hola Nancy,
      We are in the same conundrum after living in San Miguel de Allende for a year. We are not entertaining the thought of the “old country”, but evaluating all the places of Mexico. Beach vs. plateau. Weather. Community. Etc.
      We’ve spent time in your new town and it was comfortable. What is the pull of Maz. for you? I know the push was the weather. 😊 Being coastal all our lives it’s tough. Congrats on being able to make an informed decision! Saludos

      1. Hi Robert, Thank’s for writing! We loved our life in Mazatlán and we have so many wonderful friends there – but just can’t take the six or seven months of blistering hot and humid any more. It is also a city dominated by events: Carnaval, Moto Week, Semana Santa, etc etc. I just wanted to live somewhere that is less “party” and more “just a good place to live”. Lakeside isn’t perfect but we are enjoying ourselves and can see it’s a great place as we aren’t getting any younger, too! Good luck with your decision!

    1. Buena suerte! We love Guadalajara but had no intention of buying real estate in Mexico. Next week we close on a new condo!

    1. That is big news. Thanks for sharing your process. I hope to visit sometime this coming season.

      1. Michael! Hi! It would be great to have you visit sometime this winter! YAY! xoxo

    1. I love it when people explore, cogitate the possibilities and come to a conclusion that works for them, and like everything, there are no absolutes and things may not be under the umbrella of “forever” but the umbrella of “for now”. When you mentioned Tucson, I got excited because I could see you once in a while and it IS a lovely city but a HOT one much of the time. But those mountains…

      The house sounds perfect and the trees look wonderful. I am still content, which is unusual for me although this area is not my ideal. However, Mexico is varied and travel within is easy and affordable. Love you guys and big congratulations on your new adventure. Oh, I am doing one last Maz trip in February, then I do believe I am done. Too many of you I so enjoyed seeing are not longer there.

      1. Hi Zoe, I am so glad our friendship endures through all these years and places. Hopefully we’ll see you and John in person one day again! xoxo

    1. Have been following you for a number of years as we winter in Mazatlan. After 10 years in an RV we have bought a winter home in north Mazatlan. Suits us as the beach is across the street and all amenities are close by. Plus we love all that the city has to offer. Good luck with your new home!

      1. Kathryn, Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I am so thrilled that you have made your home in Mazatlán, may your years there be as happy as mine were! xoxo

    1. It is obvious that you both put an incredible amount of thought and energy in making this decision. Wishing you all the best in your new home. Looking forward to reading about and seeing photos of your new home. The garden area looks lovely. I personally am happy that you have remained in Mexico.

      1. Thanks, Contessa! I can’t tell you how many parts of our decision we left out! We really were all over the place! Good luck getting ready to head out… and have a great winter in Mexico! xoxo

    1. So happy to hear your big news. Sounds like you have made the right decision for you, and it is good to think of you in a place where you can continue to thrive! We love and miss you both. xoxo

      1. Thanks, Judith! We are really excited for closing and getting moved in. I think it will be a great move for us. Take care sweetie! xoxo

    1. Well you know I’m thrilled. I envy you those trees. I’m going to buy a banana tree, a lemon tree and I’d like pomegranate as well! I’m so glad you’re not leaving (me).

    1. Beautiful area where you are living at this time. Lake Chalapa area does have the best weather. We will be visiting Mazatlan the month of January before heading to Rincon de Guayabitos for two months. Will look forward to more pictures of your new home.

      1. Sandy, Have a great winter in the sun! We close on the house next week and should be moved in early November, I’ll share some pics then! Saludos!

    1. Sticking by the lake sounds like a great idea. Like you, I cannot imagine leaving Mexico. One day I may be forced to do that, but not now.

      I have failed to take advantage of the cultural offerings of Guadalajara. I need to do that. When I do, I will let you know I am coming up. It would e nice to see your new place.

      1. So glad you have found your new place in Paradise. Love your writing! See you soon.

        1. Hi Nadine! I had ever intention of getting to the recycling fair and hopefully seeing you yesterday but got sidetracked somehow. Looking forward to dinner Thursday 🙂

      1. Thanks, Steve. I’m not going to hold my breath that we ever meet in person but hey, it’s nice of you to say so. We would love to have you visit.

          1. Thanks, Steve. If we’re ever in your area we will call and get together. But my son lived in Colima for 7 years so we visited there, Manzanillo and PV a lot for many years and I doubt we’ll be back anytime soon. My comment had to do with how many times you have been to Maz and here and it never happened. Thanks for the invite though!

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